Receiver/Speakers/Sub suggestions for a smaller room (14x14) with a 3K budget

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Chris131, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Chris131

    Chris131 Auditioning

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    HI All, I'm a new member here and a first time poster. I was hoping some of the Home Theater Gurus could give me some Home Theater advice. Here's my situation… I'm moving into a new home in the next few months. I have one room that I am blocking out as a home theater. The room is (fully carpeted) 14 x14 with a 10 foot ceiling. The wife and I will primarily watch movies and some TV in this room. I will also use it for Xbox gaming. My questions at this point pertain to the audio needs for a room of this size. My budget for audio (receiver and speakers/sub) is 3K. 1. Does a 7.1 (or even a 7.2) setup make any sense in a room of this size? Or would a 5.1 be more than adequate? The room (14 x14 with a 10 foot ceiling) is by no means large. 2. I know everyone seems to have a different opinion on which speakers are best and I'm not looking to start a war. I was hoping to get some speaker suggestions for a room of my size though. The forums seem to speak highly of HSU, B&W, Energy and a whole bunch of other brands. Any insight on any of these brands and what might be best for my specific setup? 3. As for a receiver… I was tossing around the idea of going Onkyo. Seems to be a highly regarded brand in the Home Theater world. I was specifically considering the new TX-NR616. From what I can tell, it's not available yet but seems to have some decent specs. Might be overkill though for me. Again, I was looking for some advice here. I am new to the world of Home Theater and would like a nice setup but don't want to throw money away either. Any advice would be grately appreciated. Thanks for all your time guys Chris
     
  2. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Hi Chris, welcome to the forum!


    I don't think there's any reason for you to go 7.1. Have you seen this speaker layout guide by Dolby? It's a great reference tool. The rear surround speakers that are added for 7.1 systems should be several feet behind the seating position. If your seating will be at all close to the back wall of the room, then there will be little to no sonic benefit. There is also not a whole lot of material out there that is natively encoded at 7.1. The list is growing, but slowly. Personally, I would take a good 5.1 setup over a mediocre 7.1 setup every time.


    Also (this is nitpicking, but still helpful), technically speaking there is no such thing as "7.2". It's another result of "marketing-speak" invading the vernacular. The ".1" in 5.1 refers to the number of discrete channels of LFE (Low Frequency Effects). Nothing is encoded with more than 1 LFE channel. Receivers marketed as ".2" simply have an extra subwoofer pre-out - but the audio signal is still the same. You can get the same effect with a ".1" receiver and a cheap "Y" splitter cable.


    Finally even though you may opt for a 5.1 setup, keep in mind that all 7.1 (or "7.2") receivers can be configured to run as 5.1 so don't narrow your choice of receiver to only 5.1 models.



    All three speaker brands you mention are good speakers. I'm also quite partial to PSB - if you have a dealer in your area, consider giving them a listen. As you've probably seen on this forum, the best judge of speakers will be your ears. Everyone hears things differently and has different likes/dislikes. Audition, audition, audition.


    The important thing to look at when shopping for speakers is impedance (measured in ohms) and sensitivity (measured in dB). Virtually all receivers will work with 8 ohm speakers. Most will work with 6 ohm speakers, and only higher-end models will work with 4 ohm speakers. Stick with 8 ohm speakers to be safe. Most speakers are 8 ohm, so that shouldn't be problematic.


    Sensitivity is a measure of how efficient the speakers are. It's the measured "volume" (SPL) at 1 meter away when the speaker is fed a 1 watt signal. Higher sensitivity (90 dB and up) indicates a speaker that will get plenty "loud" without a lot of power. Don't worry about speaker wattage ratings as much.


    For your room size, your needs won't be too demanding, so you have a good bit of flexibility in this regard, too. Any thought on if you prefer satellite (Energy), bookshelf, or tower speakers? Bookshelves are a great compromise between performance and price.


    I will say, that the speakers deserve the lions share of your budget. If the total budget is 3k I would consider going as much as ~2.4k on the speakers, and no more than $600 for the receiver.


    Also, few speaker manufacturers make good subwoofers. There's no reason to get a subwoofer to "match" the rest of your speakers. In fact, you'll get a much better value shopping for a subwoofer from a dedicated manufacturer, so resist the urge to get any package deal that includes a subwoofer.


    Buy good speakers now, and they'll last you decades. No other piece of the HT will last you longer.



    I have been an Onkyo user since the mid-90s and have never had problems. The receiver needs to have the connectivity options you want, and any ancillary features like iPod connectivity, Internet Radio streaming, etc. Personally, I've never used any sort of streaming or network functionality, so I can't comment on any of that. In addition to Onkyo, comparable models from Yamaha, Pioneer, Denon, and Marantz get a lot of love around here.


    The Audyssey setup feature in Onkyo's and Denons is considered a huge selling point - among the industry's best. Wattage ratings are among the least important things to look at when shopping for receivers. No reason to spend more money for 10, 15, or 20 watts per channel difference - you won't hear it.
     
  3. Chris131

    Chris131 Auditioning

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    Jason, Thanks a lot for all the info. Being new to this Home theater game, I learned a lot from your post. I really appreciate you taking the time out to respond. Thanks for the link Casey, I hadn't seen this on in any of my searches. Some good info in here Thanks again guys Chris
     
  4. Chris131

    Chris131 Auditioning

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    Casey was curious what you thought of the RSL 5.1 Theater package which are highly rated on that link you brought to my attention. The reviews on that site seem to be excellent. Is this company well known in the industry? Thanks again for the info Chris
     
  5. raehza

    raehza Stunt Coordinator

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    I personally own Definitive Technology speakers. I love their sound and their footprint is very small compared to other manufacturers speakers. They are also very good looking speakers and wife friendly :D I own 2x DefTech BP8020 ST Towers and their CS8040HD Center. http://www.definitivetech.com/ They sound superb and are in your price range. You can listen to a large variety of DefTech speakers at your local BestBuy Magnolia room. Remember that those Magnolia rooms didn't go through audio equalizing a-la Auddysey. They WILL sound better in your room. Check them out! Subwoofer wise, a room your size will have plenty of bass with an SVS PB12-NSD. I currently use the same sub and love it but will exchange it for something larger due to me moving my speakers into a much bigger room. Good luck hunting Ray
     
  6. rslspeakers

    rslspeakers Auditioning

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    Greetings from RSL Speakers! The question was raised about us as a company. You can click go to this link to get a brief history: http://rslspeakers.com/about-us.html . We started in 1970 in Southern California as a speaker company that sold our speakers factory-direct through our stores. We grew and become one of the top selling brands in our area. Our retail stores became the number one audio/video specialty chain. I believe it was because our people didn't work on commission and gave great help without any sales pressure. Our studio monitors were used widely throughout the recording and broadcast industries. Several years ago, we came up with a different method for tuning speakers that we patented. We call it Compression Guide and we believe that it is one of the key factors that enable our speakers to sound quite a bit different than other comparably-priced models. We still offer our speakers direct, but now it's through our website. As was the case then, it's all about value. If we were only as good as comparably priced speakers that you find in the typical home theater store that has both manufacturer's and dealer's markup, there would be no point in offering them direct on the internet. Ever since we started in 1970, we've always offered a full satisfaction guarantee and we still do. Except now, because we sell on the Internet we'll even pay return shipping, so the customer is not out anything if they're not thrilled. If anybody wishes to know more about us or our products, they can feel free to call us toll-free anytime. Unlike some websites, we don't hide our phone number. It's on the top of all of our pages. Thank you, RSL Speakers
     

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